Bottling her talent for the 
Finnish pop audience

CHISU has officially arrived on the Finnish pop music scene. Her sophomore album, Vapaa ja yksin (Free and Alone), is undoubtedly one of the freshest-sounding Finnish pop albums of this year. With her mature and poetic lyrics touching on a diversity of topics such as the recession, unemployment, depression and even swine flu, the Finnish public are sitting up and taking notice of the artist formally known as Christel Sundberg.

Singer-songwriter Manna has all the makings of a pop star:
looks, talent and guts. A lot of that stems from her Finnish-Algerian family background.

Things are looking up for Manna. Released at the end of September, her second album Songs of Hope and Desire has already received a full set of rave reviews and gotten decent exposure. Though things have changed in the Finnish music industry, it’s still far from easy for a Finnish indie rock record with English lyrics to get noticed.


Helsinki-based Ugandan designer Lincoln Kayiwa creates beautiful solutions to daily problems.

I first saw the work of Lincoln Kayiwa in the Master of Arts exhibition in 2008. I was immediatelytaken with his aesthetic and unctional sterling silver Tukaani chopsticks, designed for the more butterfingered western consumers of Asian food. Easy to use and beautiful to behold, it is indicative of the kind of approach to design Kayiwa cultivates, from his Rose wine glass to the playful Dino clothes rack.


With two albums of piano-driven pop songs, singer-songwriter Astrid Swan has gone from a sassy indie princess to an edgy and ambitious artist. Now she wants to have a bit of fun and make music that the world would hear.

Four years ago Astrid Swan broke into the Finnish music scene as a solo artist with a most auspicious beginning. Her debut album Poverina caused ripples on both sides of the Atlantic and established her as the piano-stroking girl poet with an edge. On the follow- up, Spartan Picnic, Swan transformed into something altogether more mercenary. The belligerent and severe album earned her again more praise and more forays abroad.


Umayya Abu-Hanna is a Palestinian migrant who after 28 years in Finland has not gotten any closer to becoming a Finn. An outspoken advocate of cultural diversity, a writer, journalist, a single mother and now an adviser for the National Gallery, her appetite for making a difference has not abated.

To call Umayya Abu-Hanna opinionated is like saying Che Guevara was “left-leaning.” A Palestinian by birth and raised in Israel in a virtual mélange of cultures, she has become a highly visible – and vocal – character in her adopted country.